Executives from finance, marketing, sales, logistics, and other departments and business lines play an increasingly central role in the evaluation, purchase and use of technology solutions, according to a new report released by CompTIA, the world’s leading technology association.
“CIOs and information technology (IT) teams remain involved in the process, as their expertise and experience are valued,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “But business lines are clearly flexing their muscles. It’s another strong signal that technology has shifted from a supporting function for business to a strategic asset.”
Among the 675 US businesses surveyed for the CompTIA report “Considering the New IT Buyer”, 45% said that ideas about technology come from different areas of the organization; and 36% said more executives are involved in the decision making. More than half of respondents (52%) used business unit budget to pay for technology purchases in the last year.
Lines of business are also staffing their departments with technology-oriented job roles, from data scientists and business analysts to software developers and social media managers. Executives cite the need for specialized skills, faster response times and better collaboration as some of the reasons why they are staffing up on technology-oriented job roles.
“This isn’t a case of rogue IT running rampant or CIOs and their teams becoming obsolete,” April said. “Rather, it signals that a tech-savvier workforce is populating business units and job roles.”
In the CompTIA study, 21% of chief financial officers said they have dedicated technology roles in their department, including data scientists, business analysts and software developers. More than half have created hybrid positions that are partly technical- and partly business-focused.
Technical job roles in marketing department are also on the rise. Social media managers and digital marketing managers are the most often mentioned positions. Systems administrators, data analysts, web analytics specialists, marketing technologists, and database administrators also made the list.
Within logistics and sales teams, the most common tech-related job roles include project management specialists, data analysts and database administrators.
Much of what business lines are buying today are cloud-based software solutions, which can be self-provisioned quickly within a department. For that reason, technology vendors, distributors and channel partners need to package what they sell differently.
“They need to speak the language of business because this new generation of buyers doesn’t want to hear about the technical implications of their purchases,” April explained. “Channel partners need to position themselves as consultants and service providers who can help customers make informed decisions about what they buy.”